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CU YA HOGA COUNTY OFFICE OF THE PROSECUTOR

2015 REPORT TO THE PUBL IC


TIMOTHY J. McGINTY CU YAHOGA COU NT Y

PROSECUTING AT TORNEY


Contents

CU YAHOGA COU NT Y OFFICE OF THE PROSECUTOR

2015 Report to the Public Strengthening Families - 20

A Message from Your County Prosecutor - 4 Headline Cases 2014 - 12

Special Initiatives - 22

Office Leadership - 5

Justice in Your Neighborhood - 14

Doing Justice Right - 24

Working for Justice - 6

Heating Up Cold Cases - 16

In Their Own Words >>>

Training Our Workforce - 8

2014 Snapshot: The Work of the Office - 10

Community Outreach - 26

Hear from Prosecutor’s Office employees throughout this report as they reflect on working for justice in Cuyahoga County.

Juvenile Justice: Prevention and Prosecution - 18


A Message from Your County Prosecutor In depth of talent, the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office rivals any of Cleveland’s major private law firms. We have 220 lawyers, plus another 120 paralegals, investigators and support personnel. As this report shows, they handle a wide range of criminal, civil and administrative law tasks for the people of Cuyahoga County. But no one works alone. Not only is our office a team, but every day we partner with other law enforcement organizations, government agencies and nonprofit groups. These partners bring special expertise, fresh perspectives and additional resources. We have been cultivating a Culture of Collaboration since I became County Prosecutor. The rationale is simple: By working together, we multiply the impact of everything we do. Our signature Sexual Assault Kit Task Force is Exhibit A. This partnership includes the Cleveland Division of Police, the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation. In 2014, we obtained added funding from Cuyahoga County Council and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. Last fall, we organized a summit with partners from Memphis and Detroit, as well as the Justice Department and the Joyful Heart Foundation,

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Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office

to compare notes and identify best practices. That’s collaboration at work. We brought together partners to track down the “Early Morning Rapist” and to crack a nine-county burglary ring. We worked with local authorities and the U.S. Marshals to round up violent gang members, teamed up with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney to target human traffickers, and collaborated with the Ohio Investigative Unit and the Secret Service to bring down gamblers. We partnered with educators and medical professionals to sound the alarm on heroin. We convened anchor institutions, neighborhood development groups, the county Land Bank and the City of Cleveland to target abandoned properties for demolition. We have assisted thousands of children and their families in collecting child support and have had a major impact on juvenile gang activity. Collaboration stretches your tax dollars and enables all of us to do more than we could alone. It enables us to build a safer community and to help restore public confidence in government. Most important, it improves the quality of justice for every person in Cuyahoga County.


Office Leadership About Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty Timothy J. McGinty was elected Cuyahoga County Prosecuting Attorney in November 2012, after serving more than 18 years as a Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge and Timothy J. McGinty the decade before that as Prosecuting Attorney an assistant prosecuting attorney under the late John T. Corrigan and Stephanie Tubbs Jones. In 1992 the Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association named him Ohio Prosecutor of the Year.

Jane M. Platten Chief of Staff

Richard A. Bell Chief, Special Investigations Division

Yvonne Billingsley Chief, Family Law Division

Duane Deskins First Assistant Prosecutor; Chief, Juvenile Justice Division and Director of Juvenile Crime Prevention

Charles Hannan Litigation Manager, Civil Division

Andrew Nichol Chief, Criminal Division

Prosecutor McGinty is a lifelong Cuyahoga County resident. He is a graduate of St. Edward High School and Heidelberg College. He earned his Juris Doctor degree from Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. In 2000, he earned a master’s degree in judicial studies from the University of Nevada, Reno. Prosecutor McGinty has taken on several important initiatives, including justice system reform, the investigation and prosecution of cold case sexual assaults, the implementation and of performance measurement and case management technology and the aggressive prosecution of public corruption. Prosecutor McGinty has been married for over 40 years to Ellen, a registered nurse. He is the father of two and now a proud grandfather.

ORC §309.08 A Mission of Justice The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office is committed to making Cuyahoga County a thriving and safe place to live, work and conduct business.

The State of Ohio, through the Ohio Revised Code Chapter 309, empowers the county prosecuting attorney with the duty and obligation to: “Inquire into the commission of crimes within the county. The pros­ecuting attorney shall prosecute, on behalf of the state, all complaints, suits, and controversies in which the state is a party,… and other suits, matters, and controversies that the prosecuting attorney is required to prosecute within or outside the county, in the probate court, court of common pleas, and court of appeals. In conjunction with the attorney general, the prosecuting attorney shall prosecute in the supreme court cases arising in the prosecuting attorney’s county.”

2015 Report to the Public

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WORKING FOR JUSTICE Office Overview

2014 Divisions and Leadership

Timothy J. McGinty, Prosecuting Attorney

What is a Prosecutor? The Cuyahoga County Prosecuting Attorney is an elected official who represents the citizens of Cuyahoga County in both criminal and civil legal matters.

Communications Joseph F. Frolik Director of Communications & Public Policy

Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty was elected in November 2012 to serve a four-year term.

Finance and Operations Marvin J. Davies III Director of Finance & Operations

Our Office

Human Resources Beverly Dean, Human Resources Manager

The Office of the Prosecutor employes more than 340 people, including 220 assistant prosecuting attorneys (APAs) and about 120 administrative/ support staff providing technical, clerical and administrative expertise. The office headquarters are in the Cuyahoga County Justice Center, with other offices in the Juvenile Justice Center, the old Cuyahoga County Courthouse and the Department of Children and Family Services.

Contact Us The Cuyahoga County Office of the Prosecutor 1200 Ontario Street Courts Tower, Ninth Floor Cleveland, Ohio 44113 Office Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (216) 443-7800 www.prosecutor.cuyahogacounty.us

Join Our Team The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office is always seeking dedicated, talented professionals who are committed to public service. Visit our website at www.prosecutor.cuyahogacounty.us and click on “Careers” to learn more.

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ADMINISTRATION Jane M. Platten, Chief of Staff

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office

Information Systems Pete Szegeti, Information Systems Director

CIVIL DIVISION APA Charles E. Hannan, Litigation Manager Civil Unit APA Gregory G. Huth, Unit Supervisor Real Estate Tax Foreclosure Unit APA Colleen A. Majeski, Unit Supervisor

JUVENILE DIVISION First Assistant Prosecutor Duane Deskins, Chief, and Director of Juvenile Crime Prevention Juvenile Justice Unit APA Ralph Kolasinski, Unit Supervisor Managing Attorney: APA Robin D. Belcher Managing Attorney (Gang Intake): Scott C. Zarzycki


CRIMINAL DIVISION APA Andy Nichol, Chief

General Felony Unit, Region 4 APA Jose A. Torres, Unit Supervisor

Appeals Unit APA T. Allan Regas, Unit Supervisor

General Felony Unit, Region 5/6 APA John R. Kosko, Unit Supervisor

Criminal Non-Support Unit APA Kristine Pesho, Managing Attorney

Grand Jury Unit APA Andy Nichol, Unit Supervisor

Expedited Case Management Unit APA Terese McKenna, Unit Supervisor

Major Drug Offenders Unit APA Deborah Naiman, Unit Supervisor

General Felony Unit, Region 1 APA Gregory J. Mussman, Unit Supervisor

Major Trial Unit APA Saleh S. Awadallah, Unit Supervisor

General Felony Unit, Region 2 APA Michael C. O’Malley, Unit Supervisor

Victim Witness Advocacy Unit Marya Simmons, Unit Supervisor

General Felony Unit, Region 3 APA Diane P. Russell, Unit Supervisor

SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS DIVISION APA Richard A. Bell, Chief

FAMILY LAW DIVISION APA Yvonne C. Billingsley, Chief

Economic Crimes Unit APA Paul Soucie, Unit Supervisor

Child Support Unit APA Dorcas Russo, Unit Supervisor Assistant Unit Supervisor APA Steven W. Ritz Managing Attorneys: APA Farah L. Emeka, APA Terri M. Hammons-Brown, APA Joseph Young

Internet Crimes Against Children Unit APA Holly M. Welsh, Unit Supervisor Investigations Unit Michael J. O’Malley, Unit Supervisor Organized Crime Task Force Timothy Oleksiak, Unit Supervisor Public Corruption Unit APA Matthew E. Meyer, Unit Supervisor

Children & Family Services Unit APA Michelle Myers, Unit Supervisor Managing Attorneys: APA Laura M. Brewster, APA Amy Carson, APA Cheryl Rice

Sexual Assault Kit Task Force APA Brett Kyker, Unit Supervisor

“My decision to work as a prosecutor comes from my desire to work toward justice and to do good. I have learned from the attorneys that surround me and grown as an attorney through the daily challenges of critically analyzing legal questions and handling cases.” -APA Daniel Van, Appeals Unit with the office since May 2009 2015 Report to the Public

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Two deputies from the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department demonstrate self defense tactics during an August safety training for employees. Deputy Sheriff Joseph Skovira emphasized that being aware of one’s circumstances and avoiding dangerous situations are far more important safety tactics than specific combat techniques or self defense strategies.

Training our Workforce Fostering Talent

Safety for Criminal Justice Employees

A skilled workforce ensures effective pursuit of justice. The Prosecutor’s Office provides unparalleled opportunity for professional growth for attorneys and non-attorneys alike.

The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office works to keep people safe in Cuyahoga County – and that includes the more than 350 who work in the Prosecutor’s Office. Not so long ago, the idea that criminals would lash out against judges, prosecutors and others who work in the court system was almost unimaginable. Sadly that is no longer true.

Assistant prosecutors receive guidance and mentoring from supervisors and seasoned litigators, and receive increased responsibility in the courtroom as their skills improve. Administrative and support staff contribute to special projects to expand their knowledge of the Criminal Justice System, public service and their particular fields of expertise. The office hosts conferences and trainings featuring leading national experts throughout the year to supplement day-to-day learning. We also encourage our employees to seek out continuing education opportunities that will further hone their skills.

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Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office

A California researcher reports that during the six decades that began in 1950, there were 86 serious attacks on justice system employees in the U.S. Since 2010, there have been more than 20. In 2013, two prosecutors were killed in Texas. Colorado’s top prisons official was gunned down at his front door. In April of 2014, the father of a North Carolina prosecutor was kidnapped on orders from a high-ranking gang leader she had helped send to prison for life. In June of 2014, a self-described “sovereign citizen” opened fire at a courthouse in suburban Atlanta. Because of this disturbing trend, the Prosecutor’s Office hosted a daylong safety seminar for all employees, as well as our colleagues from across Northern Ohio, in August. The training covered Internet safety, safety awareness and basic self defense, as well as policies and protocol for addressing threats in the workplace.


Domestic Violence In just two weeks of 2014 in Cuyahoga County, three women were murdered by the men in their lives, each of whom had a criminal history of escalating domestic violence. These tragedies prompted Cuyahoga County’s Criminal Justice System to take a serious look at how it handles domestic violence cases. This includes empowering prosecutors with the tools to better understand domestic violence with the goal of preventing future domestic violence tragedies. Investigating and prosecuting these cases is challenging because victims know their attackers and are often dependent on them in may ways. Fearing for their own safety and the safety of their children, victims are often reluctant to participate in their cases. Prosecutors and law enforcement must balance the immediate safety of victims with the pursuit of justice and the prevention of future—and unfortunately sometimes deadly—attacks. In December, the office brought domestic violence survivors, criminal justice partners and experts to discuss best practices in handling domestic violence cases. More than 300 attendees learned critical lessons for ensuring victim safety while working domestic violence cases.

Domestic violence survivor Susan Still, whose former husband received a record 36-year prison sentence in New York for nonfatal domestic violence, described the abuse she suffered, how she escaped and her perspective on the criminal proceedings in her case during a December 2014 training hosted by the Prosecutor’s Office. For prosecutors and law enforcement officers, understanding a domestic violence victim’s mindset is critical.

Terry v. Ohio History matters, especially in law where precedent is so important. In December, the office had the privilege of hosting a panel of esteemed attorneys and law professionals to discuss one of the most important criminal cases in the modern history of the Supreme Court of the United States: Terry v. Ohio. In June of 1968, the Supreme Court affirmed the State’s position that a police officer may act upon reasonable suspicion and search a criminal suspect for the purpose of officer safety.

Former Congressman Louis Stokes discusses the landmark Supreme Court Ruling Terry v. Ohio. Next to him on the panel is Dr. Lewis Katz, criminal law professor at Case Western Reserve University.

To discuss the importance of this case, the Prosecutor’s Office hosted a panel in December 2014 that included former Congressman Louis Stokes, who represented Terry in this case and Tyrone Brown, who served as a law clerk to Chief Justice Earl Warren at the time of this decision. The two were joined by criminal law experts.

“I’ve been very fortunate to have supervisors and mentors who push and guide me to become a better attorney today than I was yesterday. It’s uplifting to know they genuinely care about my professional development.” -APA Jonathan McDonald, General Felony Unit with the office since April 2014

2015 Report to the Public

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The Work of the Office in 2014 Case Resolution

Crime Trends

97%

Crimes Charged in Cuyahoga County 2010 2011

18.5%

2012

Decrease in total crimes charged between 2010 and 2014

2013 2014 Nonviolent

Violent

of cases were resolved at the pretrial stage (through plea agreements, diversion, etc.)

305

Cases proceeded to trial in 2014

2014 Capital Cases

Top Ten Crime Categories Charged

20

Drug Abuse Violations

Burglary

Larceny/Theft

Robbery

*Sex Offenses

Forcible Rape

Weapons Violations

Forgery/Counterfeiting

Aggravated Assault

Vandalism

*Sex offenses other than forcible rape, prostitution and vice (includes gross sexual imposition, statutory rape, etc.)

1

Cases eligible for capital specifications (death penalty)

Results of Cases That Went to Trial Not Guilty Guilty

29% 71%

Case indicted with capital specifications

Defendants Juvenile Defendants

Adult Defendants

5,576

10,590

Total juveniles charged in 2014

Total adults charged in 2014

Race/Ethnicity Race/Ethnicity 10 11 12 13 14 20 20 20 20 20

10 11 12 13 14 20 20 20 20 20

Age

Age Other Other

Hispanic

Hispanic

Caucasian

Caucasian Under 18

African American

African American

18 to 25 26 to 35 51 to 65 Over 65

10

Over 18

Gender

36 to 50

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office

Under 10 10 to 13

Female Male

14 to 17

Gender Female Male


Legal Matters

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921

Arguments at the Ohio Supreme Court by the Appeals Unit

Search warrants prepared by the Appeals Unit Adoption petitions completed on behalf of Children & Family Services to protect abused and neglected children

4,061

Children & Family Services

Issues completed by the Civil Unit

Civil

136

806

Appeals

Arrest hearings scheduled for child support obligors

Child Support Enforcement

Office Snapshot Budget

357

$31.2 million

Special Investigations Division

total employees

2014 operating budget for the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office

32

33

Administration

40

62%

Civil Division

Salaries

22%

Benefits

52

Juvenile Justice Division

66 134

Family Law Division

Criminal Division

2%

Commodities

6%

1%

Contracts & Professional Services

4%

Office Demographics

Capital Outlays

Controlled Services

6%

Other Operating

55% of employees are women

Hispanic

Indian

African American

Arab American

Caucasian

Asian

60% of employees are attorneys

“The work I do is important because it protects the public. As prosecutors, we’re charged with enforcing the laws on which we all depend for safety and justice.” -APA Brandon A. Piteo, Juvenile Justice Unit With the CCPO since April 2014 2015 Report to the Public

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Headline Cases 2014 Cleveland Heights Restaurateur Killed in Armed Robbery

Yvonne Pointer speaks at Warren’s sentencing. A family member of Jim Brennan addresses the media following the sentencing of his three killers. Cleveland Heights restaurant owner Jim Brennan was murdered on June 30, 2014, in his bar, Brennan’s Colony, during a botched robbery that was planned by a dishwasher employed at Brennan’s Colony, his brother and another man. Brandon Jones, Darien Jones and Devonne Turner pled guilty to identical charges including Aggravated Murder, Aggravated Robbery, Aggravated Burglary and Kidnapping. The three defendants were each sentenced to life in prison, with parole eligibility for Darien Jones and Turner after 37 years and for Brandon Jones after 40 years. Assistant Prosecutors Blaise Thomas and Mahmoud Awadallah led the prosecution in this case.

Hernandez Warren Sentencing Closes Case on Gloria Pointer Murder Thirty years after the gruesome murder of 14-year-old Gloria Pointer, who was raped and killed while walking to school in December 1984, her mother Yvonne was able to face Gloria’s killer and tell him about the promising life he had extinguished. Warren was arrested in May 2013 after a partial DNA profile was uploaded to Ohio’s DNA database of offenders and linked to Warren. Investigators from the Prosecutor’s Office, along with Cleveland police, the FBI and the Sheriff’s Department, interviewed Warren and secured the confession that led to his guilty plea. On May 23, 2014, he was sentenced to life in prison with first parole eligibility after 30 years. Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Rick Bell represented the State of Ohio in this case.

The Major Trial Unit The Major Trial Unit handles the most serious criminal offenses. Assistant prosecutors assigned to the MTU are among the county’s and the state’s most effective and accomplished trial attorneys. The unit includes three sections: The Child Victim Section, which handles cases in which children are victims of sexual assault or serious physical abuse; the Special Prosecution Section, which handles cases involving elderly victims and victims with special needs as well as juvenile bind-over cases; and the Adult Victim Section. Additionally, the Major Trial support team includes paralegals, law clerks and investigators. Major Trial Unit 2014

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Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office


Mother Sentenced to 19 Years for Near-Fatal Abuse of Young Son

Carla Rivera stands as her sentence is handed down.

Carla Rivera nearly killed her three-year-old son, beating him and locking him outdoors in bitter sub-freezing temperatures. After emergency physicians revived the unresponsive boy, he lost five toes as a result of frostbite and spent months in the hospital recovering from severe injuries, organ failure and malnutrition. Rivera pled guilty to Endangering Children, Felonious Assault and Domestic Violence. On June 24, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Kathleen Ann Sutula delivered the maximum sentence – 19 years – for Rivera. Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jennifer Driscoll and Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Melissa Riley represented the State of Ohio in this case.

Prosecutor McGinty speaks at a September 25 press conference on the capture of the Early Morning Rapist.

“Early Morning Rapist” Charged with Two West-Side Sexual Assaults On September 25, officials announced that DNA evidence recovered from the sexual assault kits of two women attacked on the West Side around Labor Day tied James W. Daniel III to these assaults. The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Crime Lab detected “touch DNA” taken from the pants pocket of one assault victim, who was raped on Warren Road in Lakewood on August 30. This same DNA was recovered from the sports bra of a woman assaulted on West 104th Street in Cleveland’s Edgewater neighborhood days later. More than 20 police officers and investigators also scoured the neighborhoods for security footage, interviewed witnesses and interrogated suspects. A grand jury indicted Daniel on September 26 for these attacks, an armed robbery and a 2000 sexual assault. Read more about this case on page 16.

Victim Advocacy Victim Advocates work with victims and witnesses of crime to help them understand the Criminal Justice System, know their rights and responsibilities, access services and communicate the impact of crime on their lives. In 2014, advocates with our office assisted 451 victims of crime. Advocates accompany victims to court hearings, assist with victim impact statements and help victims find counseling and other supportive services.

“It’s important to me that victims and their families know they’re not alone. We’re here to advocate for them and help them start the process of healing.” -Marya Simmons, Victim Witness Unit Supervisor with the office since March 2013

2015 Report to the Public

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Justice in Your Neighborhood The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office designates five regions of the county for purposes of tracking and prosecuting crimes. General Felony Unit prosecutors are assigned to a specific region so they are well acquainted with the communities, crimes and law enforcement agencies within it. Additionally, newer prosecutors are assigned to “Region 6,” a unit that supports other General Felony Units in prosecutions but does not represent an actual geographic area of the county. The approximately 55 prosecutors of the General Felony Unit handle more than 90% of all adult criminal prosecutions within the office. Many of these cases are low-level felonies, with drug-related cases topping the most common crimes charged in all but one of the regions.

Region 1 Geography: City of Cleveland District One, Bay Village, Berea, Brook Park, Fairview Park, Lakewood, Middleburg Heights, North Olmsted, Olmsted Falls, Olmsted Township, Rocky River, Strongsville, and Westlake Total Population: 380,134 More about Region 1: Region 1 contains the most residents of all prosecutorial regions in Cuyahoga County, nearly 30 percent. Nevertheless, defendants in Region 1 represent a proportionate one-fifth of all defendants in the county. Violent crimes in Region 1 occurred at the second-lowest rate of all regions in 2014. Drug abuse violations have consistently topped the FBI crime categories charged over the past few years.

Region 2 Geography: City of Cleveland District Two, Broadview Heights, Brooklyn, Brooklyn Heights, North Royalton, Parma, Parma Heights, Seven Hills Total Population: 265,839 More about Region 2: In 2014, the office redrew region lines to reduce the geographic footprint of Region 2, as it had in 2013 represented a disproportionate number of crimes charged in the county. The following communities were reassigned to Region 3: Brecksville, Cuyahoga Heights, Garfield Heights, Independence, Newburgh Heights, Valley View and Walton Hills. As with Region 1, Region 2’s top crime charged over the past few years has been drug abuse violations.

Visit our website at www.prosecutor.cuyahogacounty.us for a detailed analysis of each region.

Top Five Crimes Charged 2013 Drug Abuse Violations Larceny/Theft Burglary Weapons Violations Aggravated Assault

2014 Drug Abuse Violations Larceny/Theft *Sex Offenses Weapons Violations Burglary

Region 1 Compared to Cuyahoga County Number

Percent of total for county

Total Population

380,134

29.67%

Total Defendants

2,410

20.50%

Total Violent Crimes Charged 1,922

17.86%

Top Five Crimes Charged 2013 Drug Abuse Violations Larceny/Theft Burglary Aggravated Assault Weapons Violations

2014 Drug Abuse Violations Larceny/Theft Weapons Violations Aggravated Assault Burglary

Region 2 Compared to Cuyahoga County Number

Percent of total for county

Total Population

265,839

20.75%

Total Defendants

2,524

21.47%

Total Violent Crimes Charged 2,289

21.27%

*Sex offenses other than forcible rape, prostitution and vice.

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Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office


Region 3 Geography: City of Cleveland District Three, Bedford, Bedford Heights, Bentleyville, Brecksville, Chagrin Falls, Chagrin Falls Township, Cuyahoga Heights, Garfield Heights, Glenwillow, Highland Hills, Independence, Maple Heights, Moreland Hills, Newburgh Heights, North Randall, Oakwood, Orange, Solon, Valley View, Walton Hills, Warrensville Heights, Woodmere Total Population: 219,874 More about Region 3: Because each region includes a Cleveland Police District plus outlying suburbs, Region 3 is the one region that has a small “gap” and is not completely connected. In 2014, Region 3 was expanded to absorb several suburbs previously included in Region 2.

Region 4 Geography: City of Cleveland District Four, Beachwood, Gates Mills, Highland Heights, Hunting Valley, Lyndhurst, Mayfield, Mayfield Heights, Pepper Pike, Richmond Heights, Shaker Heights, South Euclid, University Heights Total Population: 234,688 More about Region 4: Region 4 includes some of Cleveland’s highest-crime neighborhoods, along with some of the county’s most affluent suburbs.

Region 5 Geography: City of Cleveland District Five, Bratenahl, Cleveland Heights, East Cleveland, Euclid Total Population: 180,675 More about Region 5: Region 5 contains the least residents of all prosecutorial regions in Cuyahoga County, yet assistant prosecutors assigned to this region manage nearly one quarter of all violent crimes charged in the county.

Top Five Crimes Charged 2013 *Sex Offenses Drug Abuse Violations Larceny/Theft Forcible Rape Aggravated Assault

2014 *Sex Offenses Drug Abuse Violations Larceny/Theft Weapons Violations Aggravated Assault

Region 3 Compared to Cuyahoga County Number

Percent of total for county

Total Population

219,874

17.16%

Total Defendants

2,598

22.10%

Total Violent Crimes Charged 1,627

15.12%

Top Five Crimes Charged 2013 Drug Abuse Violations Larceny/Theft Aggravated Assault Weapons Violations Forgery/Counterfeiting

2014 Drug Abuse Violations Larceny/Theft Weapons Violations Aggravated Assault Burglary

Region 4 Compared to Cuyahoga County Number

Percent of total for county

Total Population

234,688

18.32%

Total Defendants

2,085

17.73%

Total Violent Crimes Charged 2,289

21.27%

Top Five Crimes Charged 2013 Drug Abuse Violations Larceny/Theft Aggravated Assault Weapons Violations Burglary

2014 Drug Abuse Violations Weapons Violations Larceny/Theft Aggravated Assault Robbery

Region 5 Compared to Cuyahoga County Number

Percent of total for county

Total Population

180,675

14.10%

Total Defendants

2,140

18.20%

Total Violent Crimes Charged 2,634

24.48%

2015 Report to the Public

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Sexual assault kits inventoried and in the process of undergoing DNA testing at the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

Heating Up Cold Cases The Cuyahoga County Sexual Assault Kit Task Force was founded by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office in 2013, combining the expertise of the Prosecutor’s Office, the Cleveland Police Department, the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation. Together these entities handle the influx of sexual assault cases reopened for investigation and prosecution going back to 1993.

In 2013, the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office established what is now known as the Cuyahoga County Sexual Assault Kit Task Force to address the more than 4,000 previously untested sexual assault kits that were being submitted to the Bureau of Criminal Investigation for DNA testing through the Ohio Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Kit Initiative. Investigators, prosecutors and victim advocates have been working together to pursue justice on behalf of the victims whom these kits represent. The Task Force includes members from the Prosecutor’s Office, the Cleveland Division of Police, the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department, and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations. The Task Force aims not just to seek justice on behalf of victims whose cases were left unsolved, but also to protect the public today from violent predators who never had to account for their crimes. The importance of this second goal unfortunately was made starkly clear to the community in 2014. In late summer of 2014, two women were brutally raped in the early morning hours. These attacks occurred three days and just a few miles apart—one in Lakewood and

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Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office

one in Cleveland’s Edgewater neighborhood. Recognizing the danger and urgency that an unidentified, violent rapist posed to the community, Prosecutor McGinty directed the Task Force to assist the Cleveland Police Sex Crimes Unit and the Lakewood Police in investigating. Weeks later, DNA taken from the pants pockets of one of the victims produced a hit in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) —to James W. Daniel, III. The Task Force was dismayed to learn that Daniel had been linked in May to a cold case rape. While detectives with the Task Force were actively investigating the case, they were unable to arrest Daniel before these subsequent attacks took place. Wanting to prevent other tragic and preventable assaults, Prosecutor McGinty appealed to Cuyahoga County Council and to the Ohio Attorney General to ask for additional funding to accelerate investigations. These additional investigators will allow the Task Force to reduce the time it takes to investigate these cases. As of December 31, 2014, BCI had completed testing on 3,298 kits, 1,300 of which produced hits in the CODIS system. Once a kit produces a hit, investigators must locate both victims and defendants, conduct victim interviews, secure a search warrant and obtain a verification swab of the defendant’s DNA, and finally arrest the defendant (if he


A still from surveillance footage in Cleveland’s Edgwater Neighborhood. The video shows a person duck into hiding as a runner approaches, then pursuing the runner as she passes. Security cameras were critical to this investigation.

4,799

By the Numbers

Cuyahoga County rape kits collected between 1993 and 2010 submitted to the Ohio BCI laboratory for DNA testing

3,289

Completed as of December 31, 2014

(as of Dec. 2014)

Anna Whalley (left), from the Shelby County Rape Crisis Center in Memphis, and Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter Rachel Dissell, discuss sexual assault kit backlog issues at the Sexual Assault Kit Summit in October.

$240,889 The estimated economic harm of one sexual assault

source: National Institutes of Health

11% 40%

Yield a CODIS hit

is not already incarcerated). Prosecutors work closely with investigators to ensure cases are prepared thoroughly for presentation to a Grand Jury. At the end of 2014, investigators had completed 717 of 1,868 cases opened for investigation. Prosecutors had indicted 246 cases. Of these, 71 were closed, with a 90.1 percent conviction rate. Cuyahoga County has indicted and successfully prosecuted more rapists than any other jurisdiction in the country that is working through a rape kit backlog. The Task Force has used novel strategies to hold rapists accountable – including indicting DNA profiles as “John Doe” when a suspect has not been identified. This tolls the statute of limitations and allows the Office to prosecute defendants when they are identified.

254

Survivors receiving assistance from Sexual Assault Victim Advocates

DNA profiles linked to multiple rape kits. Among defendants, up to 30% are suspected serial rapists.

In many ways, Cuyahoga County is leading the nation in tackling this issue. In October of 2014, it convened a summit with leaders from Detroit and Memphis. Together the three cities discussed key issues and best practices. National advocacy organizations like the Joyful Heart Foundation and the National Center for Victims of Crime, as well as representatives from the United States Department of Justice and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, were also present to provide advocacy and policy updates and to facilitate further collaboration. Since this time, Cuyahoga County has been called upon to share the challenges and successes of its Task Force across the country. Leaders have spoken on nationally syndicated public radio program The Diane Rehm Show, in front of state legislators in Washington State and at training conferences.

“Victims have expressed the anguish of living a life of fear never knowing when the man who raped them may reappear. Nothing has brought me more gratification than to tell a victim that their rapist is dead, in prison, or on his way to prison.” -Investigator Nicole DiSanto, Cuyahoga County Sexual Assault Kit Task Force with the office since February 2008

2015 Report to the Public

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Juvenile Justice

Student athletes pledging to take a stand against sexual assault and violence against women

Juvenile Justice: Prevention Many of the adults who pass through the adult Criminal Justice System began their criminal habits as juveniles. Prosecutor McGinty recognizes that preventing crime among juveniles is just as important to our office as the prosecution of juvenile crimes. Youth in Cuyahoga County need role models and programs to help them understand personal responsibility, their role in society and how they can avoid both being victimized and committing crimes that will affect them for the rest of their lives. First Assistant Prosecutor Duane Deskins also serves as the Director of Juvenile Crime Prevention. In this role, he spearheads community initiatives and strategies to deter youth crime and to prevent children from turning to violence. In 2014, the Prosecutor’s Office participated in a number of crime prevention efforts.

First time, nonviolent juvenile offenders entered into diversion

185

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Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office

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In February, the office partnered with the Juvenile Courts and a nonprofit violence-prevention organization called the Whoaman Movement to empower student leaders to prevent cyberbullying, avoid online crime victimization and protect their privacy. Speakers also discussed dating violence and sexual abuse, as many victims of intimate partner violence are teens. On August 23, high school athletes from across the region gathered to take a stand against sexual assault and violence against women. The Prosecutor’s Office helped organize this event to stop high school sexual violence before it spreads to college. Prosecutor McGinty and First Assistant Deskins were among the speakers. Athletes made the following pledge: “I promise to never commit or condone acts of physical or sexual violence toward women or girls.”

Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys assigned to the Juvenile Justice Division

50

Approx. number of high school athletes who signed a pledge to combat sexual and dating violence


A social media photo of members of the BBE 900 gang, some of whom (with faces blurred) are juveniles.

First Assistant Duane Deskins announces charges against juvenile members of the Heartless Felons gang.

Juvenile Justice: Prosecution While crime prevention efforts are critical to ensuring that Cuyahoga County’s youth have the best possible opportunity to grow up to be contributing members of society, juveniles who break the law and cause harm to others must be held accountable for their actions and be given a chance for rehabilitation.

The Juvenile Gang Intake Unit was critical to the June 2014 charging of 43 juvenile members of the Heartless Felons who caused significant harm to fellow detainees and employees at the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center. This case led to major reforms within the detention center to improve security.

The mission of the Juvenile Division of the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas is, “To administer justice, rehabilitate juveniles, support and strengthen families, and promote public safety.” The Juvenile Justice Unit of the Prosecutor’s Office works to support this mission while seeking justice on behalf of victims of juvenile crime.

The Juvenile Gang Unit also worked with Cleveland police and other law enforcement to build a case against the BBE 900 gang, which committed a number of armed robberies and felonious assaults. Cleveland’s Cudell neighborhood serves as the epicenter of the gang’s territory.

In 2014, there were 5,576 defendant cases completed within the juvenile court system, 75 percent of whom either pled guilty or were found to be delinquent. Another 82 defendants’ cases were bound over to the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas to be tried as adults. The Juvenile Justice Division of the Prosecutor’s Office comprises the Juvenile Justice Unit and the Juvenile Gang Intake Unit, which was established in 2014 to assist with the investigation and prosecution of gang cases in which many of the gang members are juveniles.

While juveniles offenders often go on to commit crimes as adults, we believe that many have the potential to avoid this fate with the right support and rehabilitation. That is why our office works with defendants and with the courts to recommend rehabilitative sentences, such as community service, mental health services and drug treatment, whenever it is appropriate to do so. Yet it is also true that crimes committed by juveniles can have a serious impact on victims and the community, and thus our Juvenile Division works hard to advocate on their behalf.

“Crime committed by juveniles is still crime. Its impact on victims and the community is no less because it was committed by a minor. Our work holds juveniles accountable for their conduct and helps them access the services and support they need to have a more positive future.” -APA Joanna Lopez, Juvenile Justice Unit with the office since October 2013

2015 Report to the Public

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Strengthening Families In October of 2014, Prosecutor McGinty announced the formation of the Family Law Division, led by Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Yvonne Billingsley. APA Billingsley is a seasoned advocate for families, having served more than two decades representing the Department of Job & Family Services. The new Family Law Division aims to provide holistic legal support to vulnerable children and families in Cuyahoga County through the enforcement of child support and the prevention of child abuse and neglect. The vast majority of Cuyahoga County’s citizens will never encounter the Criminal Justice System. While the Prosecutor’s Office is best known for prosecuting criminal cases, the work it does to protect and serve the county’s children touches far more families. The family is one of the most important institutions in society. Research shows that children exposed to domestic violence, drug abuse and poverty are at higher risk for negative outcomes such as dropping out of school, juvenile delinquency, homelessness, unplanned pregnancy and mental illness. These issues directly and negatively impact our community. The success of a community depends on the success of its families. To better serve Cuyahoga County’s families, the Prosecutor’s Office united the various units that address matters of family law into one cohesive division. Within the Family Law Division, the Child Support Unit

represents the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services’ Child Children assisted by Support Enforcement Agency. the Child The 25 assistant prosecuting 7,249 Support Unit attorneys and three support staff of the Child Support Unit assist in establishing paternity and enforcing child support orders. In 2014, the Child Support Unit assisted more than 7,000 children and their custodial parents. Child Support Unit activities make up nearly 40 percent of all legal matters handled by the Prosecutor’s Office. The second unit within the Family Law Division is the Children and Family Services Unit. As its name implies, this unit represents the Cuyahoga County Division of Children & Family Services in protecting children who are at risk of abuse and neglect. The 19 prosecuting attorneys and 10 support staff of the Children & Family Services Unit closed nearly 5,500 cases in 2014.

“Helping children and creating brighter futures are the most rewarding parts of my job. If I can put a meal on a table or shoes on a child’s feet by helping to get support to that child’s family, all my efforts are worth it.” -APA Daniel Starett, Child Support Unit with the office since November 2010 20

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office


Legal Matters Legal matters within the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office include civil matters handled by the Family Law Division and the Civil Division, as well as litigation matters handled by the Appeals Unit within the Criminal Division.

The Civil Unit

The Appeals Unit

The Civil Division represents the County in legal matters and litigation where the County is a party.

The Appeals Unit falls within the Criminal Division of the Prosecutor’s Office and has a vital function across the office in ensuring that criminal convictions are proper and withstand legal scrutiny. Twelve assistant prosecuting attorneys work within the unit.

The General Civil Division is the County’s in-house law firm, providing legal services to County officials, the Courts, and to some of the County’s many departments, agencies, boards, and commissions. One way Civil Division prosecutors impact citizens is by representing Adult Protective Services in cases of suspected elder abuse, seeking Guardianship guardianship and motions filed to other legal remedies protect elderly and for elderly and vulnerable adults vulnerable adults who are suspected victims of abuse, neglect or financial exploitation.

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The Tax Foreclosure Unit represents the Cuyahoga County Treasurer by filing foreclosure actions on tax delinquent properties. This process assists communities by fighting blight and abandonment and providing a tax-producing revenue stream through reutilization of land.

Prosecuting “Dead Beat Parents” When a parent’s failure to meet child support obligations rises to the felony level, the Criminal Non-Support Unit at the Prosecutor’s Office steps in to prosecute the case. Many of these cases are referred to this unit when civil enforcement efforts have been exhausted. Three Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys make up this unit, which falls within the Criminal Division of the Prosecutor’s Office. In 2014, the Criminal Non-Support Unit maintained a 100 percent conviction rate on the cases it handled. Since 2007, the $3.09 million unit has collected Collected on behalf of nearly $18 million families by the Criminal in child support for Non-Support Unit. families.

The Unit litigates criminal cases upon appeal and in post-conviction proceedings in state and federal courts, to include conducting Capital litigation. It also supports the trial units by providing information to trial prosecutors regarding issues of law that arise during the trial process and supervises the dozens of law clerks that intern or extern at the Prosecutor’s Office each year, providing legal research, organization of evidence exhibits, and transcription and the drafting of briefs. The Unit also obtains material witness warrants, assists law enforcement agencies in obtaining search warrants in Cuyahoga County on a 24/7 basis, represents the State of Ohio and victims of crime before the Parole Board, and provides legal representation to the Prosecutor, Judges of the courts, and to the Sheriff of Cuyahoga County in writ actions. In 2014, the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office was successful in the Ohio Supreme Court in State v. McGlothan, aligning the evidence necessary to prove cohabitation in domestic violence cases with the reality of changing social norms. It was also successful in State v. Amos, mandating that trial courts obtain all relevant information before imposing felony sentences; and State v. Tate, holding that courts should not decide cases based on issues that the parties have not raised or yet briefed. The high court also affirmed the death sentences imposed in two Cuyahoga County cases, State v. Matters litigated Maxwell and State in the Court of v. Jackson. Common Pleas by the Appeals Unit

2,028

2015 Report to the Public

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Special Initiatives Public Corruption When a government employee Cuyahoga County or public official breaks the public officials and law in the commission of his employees indicted or her duties, it compromises for corruption the integrity of the institution, damages public trust and often comes at a great cost to taxpayers and the community. It is for these reasons that the Prosecutor’s Office is committed to rooting out public corruption in Cuyahoga County and bringing to justice those who put greed ahead of duty.

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The Public Corruption Unit investigates and prosecutes cases of government corruption. Common charges brought through these efforts include bribery, theft in office and receiving improper compensation. In 2014, the Public Corruption Unit continued in its mission to vigorously prosecute public corruption and official misconduct. Twenty-four public officials or employees in Cuyahoga County were indicted on charges involving corruption or misconduct relating to their official positions. This included a public schools superintendent, a public school employee, a municipal judge, a city law director and prosecutor, three police officers, a corrections officer, and 14 firefighters. Additionally, the Public Corruption Unit pursued charges against two attorneys who abused their positions as court-appointed guardians to steal from their disabled wards. Included in this list are Bedford Municipal Court Judge Harry Jacob and Bedford Prosecutor and Law Director Kenneth Schuman. Schuman pled guilty to Unlawful Interest in a Public Contract, a felony of the fourth and was sentenced to serve six months in jail as part of a two-year term of community control. Jacob was found guilty following a bench trial of Falsification and Soliciting and was sentenced to serve a 60 day jail sentence. Jacob was charged after an investigation revealed that he had used his judicial office to resolve a case with one of his prostitutes, and that he created a false journal entry to allow a Bedford man who was charged with Domestic Violence to be able to own firearms. By vigorously prosecuting public officials and employees at all levels of municipal and county government, the Public Corruption Unit has aimed to send a message that there will be zero tolerance for corruption in Cuyahoga County. 22

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office

Former Director of Buildings and Grounds for the Richmond Heights School District Richard R. Muse and former superintendent Dr. Robert J. Moore stand with attorneys at their sentencing on May 22, 2014. Moore and Muse were indicted on corruption charges after the operator of a child care center that rented space in a Richmond Heights school reported to police that Moore and Muse threatened to terminate her lease unless she paid them in cash. Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Shirley Strickland Saffold sentenced Muse to 10 months in prison and Moore to 12 months after the two pled guilty to bribery and theft in office.

Organized Crime The Cuyahoga County Organized Crime Task Force, which receives funding through the Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission at the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, allows the prosecutor’s office to work in close coordination with other agencies to investigate and prosecute criminal enterprises. In December 2014, the office announced a racketeering indictment against seven men who operated a burglary ring spanning nine counties. Charges targeted 39 burglaries between November 2012 and May 2014, but investigators and law enforcement partners continue to evaluate dozens of other burglaries that may be linked to this enterprise.

Burglars took jewelry other small items that were easy to carry and could be sold at a flea market.


Fighting the Heroin Epidemic

APA Holly Welsh speaks at a human trafficking awareness event at Tower City in downtown Cleveland.

Deaths caused by heroin rose nearly 400 percent between 2007 and 2013. This epidemic has spread to reach men and women, rich and poor, old and young, black and white. While the Prosecutor’s Office aggressively prosecutes dealers whose sales contribute to this staggering death rate, Prosecutor McGinty acknowledges that we as a community cannot arrest our way out of this issue.

Human Trafficking Human trafficking is a pervasive and often invisible form of modern slavery in our society. It feeds forced labor and sexual exploitation, often of people who are vulnerable because of their age, immigration status, drug dependency or other factors. This office is committed to prosecuting those who traffic in persons and to protecting the victims of human trafficking.

In 2014, Prosecutor McGinty invested $100,000 of forfeiture funds to launch an awareness campaign on the dangers of heroin abuse. This campaign, which is housed at www.LetsFaceHeroin.com, offers statistics on heroin deaths in Cuyahoga County as well as resources, information and videos for teens, parents, users and community leaders. The campaign was launched in early 2014 with public service announcements broadcasting on local television stations, and continues to serve as an important resource.

In 2014, the Prosecutor’s Office indicted a total of 13 defendants on human trafficking charges. This year also marked the first human trafficking plea and the first human trafficking conviction by jury in Cuyahoga County. Gregory Krajnyk pled guilty to 13 felonies and was sentenced to 13 years in prison. A jury found Desmond Warren guilty of human trafficking, and he was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office serves as the lead agency for the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, conducting investigations and prosecutions in Cuyahoga County and providing training and technical assistance to other law enforcement agencies across the state. The Task Force is funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention under the U.S. Department of Justice. Across the state, 342 law enforcement agencies serve as affiliates of the Task Force. Affiliates work with our Task Force to conduct investigations, going undercover on social media, tracking down people who produce or trade child pornography, setting up sting operations to catch would-be predators and following up on CyberTips submitted to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Affiliates also participate in trainings and can access a mobile forensic investigations unit. The Task Force also provides presentations and community outreach to children and parents on Internet safety topics.

104

presentations to

8,115 people

Internet safety presentations provided to local schools and community centers

2015 Report to the Public

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Doing Justice Right The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office is committed to transparency, accountability and integrity in the performance of its duties. Just as private companies are accountable to their stakeholders, a public office must report to the citizens it exists to serve. To fulfill this responsibility and to foster important discourse, the Prosecutor’s Office has built a broad range of interactive tools and reports that are regularly updated and published online at www.prosecutor.cuyahogacounty.us. As a recipient of taxpayer dollars, the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office has a responsibility to be transparent, ethical, accountable and efficient. So does the entire Criminal Justice System. Citizens deserve justice that is delivered without waste, delay or bias. That’s why Prosecutor McGinty has pushed both the Prosecutor’s Office and others in the Criminal Justice System to rethink how they operate and to share more information with the public. He believes that government, like a successful business, can benefit from meaningful metrics, proven best practices and a commitment to continuous improvement.

executing and monitoring the board’s plans as well as developing information sharing. Prosecutor McGinty’s priorities for his office and the justice system include: Measuring Performance The Criminal Justice System generates enormous amounts of data that can aid in predicting, solving and reducing crimes. It can also provide a roadmap to improve justice system performance and a window for the public to evaluate the system.

Because so many decision-makers impact the delivery of justice in Cuyahoga County, it is critical that this office, the courts, law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders collaborate effectively to make real and lasting reforms.

The Prosecutor’s Office has created a robust case management system to help assistant prosecutors and support staff track cases and other legal matters. It also allows the office to monitor demographic trends, average length of cases, individual and group performance metrics and the financial impact of various justice system actions (or inaction).

One avenue for collaboration is the Cuyahoga County Criminal Justice Services Governing Board, a forum where leaders from throughout the system can come together to address problems or challenges. Prosecutor McGinty chairs the board’s Agency Council, which is charged with

This information has identified potential areas for improvement within the office and across the Criminal Justice System, seeding needed discussions and suggesting performance goals. We pledge to push more data into public view and hope to collaborate with other

“Prosecutors are responsible for seeking justice for victims, defendants and society. To truly achieve justice, we must discharge these duties as effectively and skillfully as possible.” -APA John Kosko, Supervisor, General Felony Unit Regions 5 and 6 with the office since 1982

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Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office


partners to make it as comprehensive as possible. Indigent Representation Those accused of a crime need a lawyer as soon as possible after arrest, regardless of their ability to pay. That might seem like an odd cause for the Prosecutor’s Office to champion, but justice demands nothing less. Engaged, quality defense counsel can help prosecutors determine what, if any, charges are appropriate and if diversion is warranted. Non-dangerous defendants should not languish in jail, and the early involvement of defense counsel can minimize pretrial delays and cut costs for everyone. Unfortunately, Cuyahoga County’s system of providing indigent defense­— which relies more heavily on assigned counsel than the Public Defender’s Office—does not foster prompt appointment or put the interests of defendants first. Prosecutor McGinty has brought this issue to the attention of the public and the Ohio Supreme Court and hopes to achieve reforms that improve the assignment process and minimize the potential for corruption. Central Booking Prosecutor McGinty and other justice system partners are working to establish a central booking process at the Cuyahoga County Justice Center where police, municipal prosecutors, and county prosecutors will work side by side­—and ideally, with defense attorneys­—to make charging decisions, and then to hold bond/bail hearings within 48 hours for a warrantless arrest. Central booking will work hand-in-hand with an Early Disposition Court to achieve a more streamlined and fair charging process. Early Disposition Court Early Disposition Court would allow prosecutors and defense attorneys to conduct early plea negotiations and/ or agree on charges in a criminal case, thereby bypassing the Grand Jury. This will save Grand Jury costs and speed low-level cases toward resolution. Early referral to diversion and drug treatment programs will reduce recidivism among first-time offenders. Disposing of low-level cases more expeditiously will free resources for more serious offenses.

125 Average days from the time a felony case is received until a plea agreement or trial

$2,619,089

Restitution collected for victims of economic crimes

Conviction Integrity Unit All prosecutors want to convict the guilty, not the innocent. But while the trial and appellate processes contain important safeguards for those accused of crime, we recognize that the Criminal Justice System is a human institution and therefore cannot be perfect. That is why Prosecutor McGinty in April 2014 established a unit to investigate wrongful conviction claims. This Conviction Integrity Unit serves to safeguard the public and to fulfill our office’s ethical duty to seek justice in every case. The mission of the Conviction Integrity Unit is to review convicted offenders’ legitimate claims of innocence. The Conviction Integrity Unit is led by Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jose Torres, who serves as Conviction Integrity Coordinator. In this role, he organizes the work of the Conviction Integrity Committee and leads all re-investigations of cases that present a credible claim of actual innocence. Eight senior members of the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office serve on the Conviction Integrity Committee. For more information, visit our website.

67

Applications to the Conviction Integrity Unit for consideration

2015 Report to the Public

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Community Outreach

Throughout the summer months, the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office brings Operation Child Protect to festivals and other public events. Operation Child Protect is a grant-funded program that provides identification kits for children ages 5 to 17 that include fingerprints, a DNA swab and photo identification. Parents can keep these kits on-hand and provide them to law enforcement in the unfortunate event their child goes missing. This program is popular with children and their parents alike, and provides employees a great opportunity to get out in the community and meet the citizens we serve. Operation Child Protect is just one of many efforts the office participates in to provide outreach to the community. Employees also regularly participate in community safety meetings, provide presentation to schools and volunteer with other agencies in the county. Be sure to follow the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office on Facebook (search “Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office”) and Twitter (@Pros_TimMcGinty) to get alerts about upcoming events and other opportunities to engage with the office.

“We are a team. We are dedicated to improving the lives of the children and families of Cuyahoga County, and together, we work to protect children from harm and to keep them safe.” -Hayam Ayyad, Paralegal Children & Family Services Unit with the office since November 2013

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Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office


Community Resources Resources for Victims The Victim-Witness Unit provides intensive services to victims of crime whose cases are being prosecuted through the office, with a special focus on violent crime, sexual assault cases and cases in which children are among the victims. The office also provides victim notifications to keep victims informed throughout a case’s progression.

Requesting Public Records

Many Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys from the office regularly volunteer to lend their expertise at free events for the public. This includes Brief Advice Clinics through the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland as well as Kinship Caregiver Workshops hosted in partnership with a number of local agencies designed to help grandparent-caregivers and other family members understand legal options in caring for minor relatives. Pictured above: APA Janice Walker volunteering with the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland.

Government records are the people’s records; thus the office serves merely as a trustee. The office seeks to fulfill public records requests in a timely, thorough and courteous manner. Requests can be submitted online, via email, letter, fax, phone or by in-person request to the office during business hours. Records requests for criminal cases cannot be honored or completed until after the file is closed.

Conviction Integrity Unit Information for submitting a case for review to the Conviction Integrity Unit, along with relevant forms, is available online. If the convicted offender is represented by counsel, all communication with the office must be through the attorney.

Request a Speaker Schools, clubs and other organizations can request a speaker from the office by visiting the office’s website or by submitting an email to info@prosecutor.cuyahogacounty.us.

Sealing a Public Record Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office staff participated in the Operation Safe Halloween, hosted by the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department. This kid-friendly event allowed families to collect Halloween candy while getting to know law enforcement and safety forces.

A criminal record can make it difficult to find a job or housing. Part of our office’s efforts to promote safer communities is allowing low-level and first-time offenders opportunities to better their lives and find alternatives to crime. To this end, Prosecutor McGinty has a team of assistant prosecuting attorneys who review applications for sealing (often called “expungement”) of records of eligible offenders. More information about eligibility and the request process is available online. Learn more about each of these resources. Visit www.prosecutor.cuyahogacounty.us and click on “Community Resources.” 2015 Report to the Public

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The Cuyahoga County Office of the Prosecutor 1200 Ontario Street Courts Tower, Ninth Floor Cleveland, Ohio 44113 (216) 443-7800 www.prosecutor.cuyahogacounty.us

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office 2015 Report to the Public  
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